Psaki: White House Won’t Use ‘Imminent’ to Describe Potential Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Psaki: White House Won't Use 'Imminent' to Describe Potential Russian Invasion of Ukraine Psaki: White House Won't Use 'Imminent' to Describe Potential Russian Invasion of Ukraine White House press secretary Jen Psaki answers questions during the daily White House briefing on February 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 02 February 2022 03:52 PM

White House officials will no longer use the word "imminent" to describe a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

"I used that once. I think others have used that once. And then we stopped using it because I think it sent a message that we weren't intending to send, which was that we knew that (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin had made a decision," Psaki told reporters during a briefing.

"I would say the vast majority of times I've talked about it, we said he could invade at any time," she added. "That's true. We still don't know that he's made a decision."

Biden administration officials last week described Russia's invasion of Ukraine "imminent" but U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday said she wouldn't describe it that way as officials continue to seek a diplomatic resolution.

"We're still pursuing a diplomatic solution to give the Russians an off-ramp. Our hope is that this will work and that Putin will understand that war and confrontation is not the path that he wants to follow, but he wants to take a path at diplomacy," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"We're giving them an opportunity to discuss their security concerns, Europe's security concerns and certainly Ukraine's security concerns. So we'll keep working on that," she said.

Russia has denied it intends to launch an attack.

Putin on Tuesday said it was clear that Russia's main complaints "had been ignored" by the United States and NATO regarding his security demands.

"It is already clear — I informed the Prime Minister about this — that the fundamental Russian concerns were ignored," Putin said at a Tuesday news conference following a five-hour meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. "We did not see an adequate consideration of our three key requirements."

Putin added that Russia had not seen "adequate consideration of our three key demands regarding NATO expansion, the renunciation of the deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders, and the return of the [NATO] bloc's military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997, when the Russia-NATO founding act was signed."

He also said he hopes the dialogue with U.S. and NATO "will continue."

"I hope that we will eventually find this solution, although it is not an easy one, and we are aware of this. But what that will be, I'm not ready to say today, of course."

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